Time: 10:00pm EST
Location: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, SUN
Opponent SBNation Site: Copper and Blue
The Lightning wrap up their western Canadian trip tonight with a match-up against Connor McDavid and his merry band of players. Tampa Bay looks to extend their point streak to 12 games while Edmonton continues to battle for a playoff spot. Hopefully, this go around won’t see McDavid have a career night like he did the last time the Lightning visited Rogers Place.
My thoughts on the previous game against Calgary:
I was rather ambivalent toward Jon Cooper looking to mix up his forward and defensive combinations. See what works and doesn’t work. After a period of poor play, Cooper threw that plan out the window and went back to something a bit more reliable; you can’t blame the man for trying. Nonetheless, it was great to see Tampa Bay comeback and win. Between this game and Winnipeg earlier in the week, we’ve been treated to some fantastic hockey games (the less we say about the mess in the Vancouver the better).
Tonight, it’s the McDavid show versus the Lightning. The last time Tampa Bay came into Rogers Place, McDavid had a career night in a 6-2 stomping of the Lightning. Hopefully, tonight will see Tampa Bay do the stomping.
Tampa Bay shouldn’t expect the same disoriented Oilers team from early November on this go around. Ken Hitchcock has appeared to provide some semblance of structure to the team and they’ve managed to scratch their way into the wild card conversation. Now, I’m well aware that Edmonton is on a bit of a shooting and goaltending percentage binge, but the Oilers don’t look like the mess that came to Amalie over a month ago.
Edmonton is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, and are currently on a two game losing streak. Prior to the losing streak, the Oilers had won five of their previous six games and nabbed a point in all six of those games. It wasn’t necessarily pretty during those six games, but without that surge Edmonton is on the outside looking in for the playoff race. Over their last 10 games, Edmonton has outscored their opposition 30-27.
Tampa Bay is 9-0-1 in their last 10 with the only loss coming in the wildly entertaining 5-4 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Lightning are currently on an 11 game point streak and have an eight point cushion on Toronto and Winnipeg for the best record in the league. Over their last 10 games, Tampa Bay has outscored their opposition 48-28.
The two players Tampa Bay has to contain are Connor McDavid (obviously) and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid has 16 points in his last 10 games and Draisaitl has 14 points in the same stretch. Alex Chiasson has been a surprise scoring machine with 15 goals this season. That puts him third on the team, behind only McDavid and Draisaitl. He’s also shooting at an absurd 31%. But Tampa Bay has the talent throughout the lineup to mitigate his impact. The biggest issue I see for Edmonton is their distinct lack of scoring depth past McDavid (49), Draisaitl (42), and Nugent-Hopkins (31). The next closest player has 19 points (Chiasson). Compare that to Tampa Bay who has eight players with 20 or more points and three players averaging over a point per game.
If there is one area that could pose an issue for Tampa Bay, it will be the play of Mikko Koskinen. The Oilers netminder has put together a solid season thus far. He has a GAA of 2.18 and a Save Percentage of .928. That’s pretty good given the team in front of him. If Koskinen plays up to the level he did during the Oilers’ recent surge, this game could get really interesting.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Danick Martel
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Dan Girardi
Alex Chiasson - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl
Tobias Rieder - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic - Kyle Brodziak - Zack Kassian
Drake Caggiula - Jujhar Khaira - Jesse Puljujarvi
Darnell Nurse - Adam Larsson
Kevin Gravel - Caleb Jones
Jason Garrison - Matthew Benning